Man’s bid to halt rape trial fails - Daily Nation

Man’s bid to halt rape trial fails

Friday January 16 2009

Mr.James Odhiambo Odera alias Castro in court

Mr.James Odhiambo Odera alias Castro in court on on Friday during the hearing of a robbery with violence case against him. The suspect refused to participate in the hearing of the case and at one time tried to escape but was overpowered by court orderlies. PHOTO/ FAITH NJUGUNA  

By SAM KIPLAGAT and RICHARD MUNGUTI

A Nairobi magistrate on Friday stood his ground and ignored obscenities directed at him by a suspect charged with killing four people, among them former Embakasi MP Melitus Mugabe Were, and took evidence from a rape victim.

Chief magistrate Gilbert Mutembei said he would not adjourn the case against Mr James Odhiambo Odera, alias Castro, and told him: “You can as well refuse to participate in the hearing.”

At one time, Mr Odera attempted to jump from the dock in a bid to escape but was overpowered by court orderlies and prison warders.

Did not stop

He later protested in the dock but that did not stop the magistrate from recording evidence from the victim.

The victim, a volunteer from Britain, went ahead and narrated a seven-hour ordeal at the hands of a gang of four men, including Mr Odera.

The suspect had earlier in the week refused to come to court, complaining that he was sick.

The same suspect had last year forced a magistrate to withdraw herself from the case after he walked out on her.

Mr Odera later complained against a prosecutor, forcing the police to seek a replacement.

On Friday, however, he was unlucky as the case proceeded despite his protests.

Describing Mr Odera as the gang leader, the tearful victim recounted how the gangsters held her and others hostage in her house on March 31, 2006.

She had returned home at around 10.30am only to find the gang in the house.

They were, however, shocked as they did not expect her back soon.

They ordered her at gunpoint to produce Sh300,000 and a gun allegedly hidden in the house.

“I kept telling them that I didn’t have that kind of money or a gun … that I was just a volunteer. But they couldn’t listen,” she said.

The gangsters then raped her in turns.

They later moved her to her friend’s house, about one hundred metres away, where the occupants had also been taken hostage. Three men, she said, had been tied and left to lie on the floor.

A woman, whom she later learnt had been raped by three gangsters, was sobbing and the owner of the house, Mrs Vallarie Ann Leakey, was pleading with two other men to leave.

The suspects later moved all their victims into one room and locked it from outside.
Mr Odera is also facing 14 counts of violent robbery that left four people dead.